Feel the Fire

I’m a regular Annie Oakley. At least that’s what my stepdad said when I was growing up. We used to set up targets–cans, bowling pins, plates–in the backyard and have shooting days. Or we’d go back on the hill and shoot at old appliances in the junk pile. Country folk. It wasn’t just guns. I own a bow. The draw is now too short for my arms, but the fact remains that I can shoot it. 

I’m not a gun fanatic. I don’t know everything there is to know about them, makes, models, clip sizes, ammo types… But I enjoy shooting recreationally. 

It’s been a while though. Over four years. That number sticks out to me because I know I haven’t held a loaded gun since Dan was killed by one. The opportunity has been there, but it was really close after the fact, so I declined. I know the power, the force contained within the weapon. I’d say I have a healthy fear and respect for guns. I know the damage they can inflict. 

I’m taking a CPL class for a couple reasons. One, I live on my own and it would be nice to have some sort of protection. Two, my mom wants me two. Three, I’m going to use the experience for a news story, explaining the training and why so many women are jumping on board. (bonus: the people who run the class were awesome enough to waive the fee because it’s for work!)

I’m still not sure if I’d ever carry a gun. It’s something I will strongly consider after I’ve gone through the course. I want to see how prepared I am, both mentally and physically, for something like that. I don’t think it’s a choice to take lightly. I’m glad that I will have the option, though. 

It’s funny, as I prepare to head out the door for my refresher gun course, I remember the last few times I’ve shot a gun. I can hear Dan’s voice a couple steps behind me, talking to his friend about how attractive a woman holding a gun is. I remember laughing to myself and trying not to be self-conscious about how I looked and just focusing on the targets. The nerves of shooting well under pressure just mixed with the butterflies. Such bittersweet memories. 

“She needs to feel that fire. The one that lets her know for sure she’s everything I want and more. The real desire is to know I’d walk alone out on the wire to make her feel that fire.”

–Dierks Bentley